The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day, as a stand to assess the state of press freedoms across the world, and to shed light on attacks against journalists and media freedoms, moreover, to promote a culture of press freedoms and freedom of expression , as a condition for prosperity and to create professional journalism that empowers people to make luminous decisions.
Today, and after 23 years of declaring the third of May as world press freedom day, media freedoms are still the target of escalating grave breaches across the world and in the Arab region in particular, following the killings, prosecution of journalists, and the targeting of media.
In Palestine, the circle of violations against media freedoms had continued its expansion, the latest was the Israeli occupation forces arrested, our colleague Omar Nazzal, a member of the Secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, while, on his way to participate in a EU-Conference for journalists, he was sentenced to administrative detention for a period of 4 months in conjunction with the World Press Freedom Day.
The journalists and media institutions in Palestine, are still paying high prices for their hard work and efforts in covering events through words and images, where the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms ” MADA” monitored last year 2015 a total of 599 violation against media freedoms in the West Bank and Gaza (including East Jerusalem), an increase average of 16 % was recorded in the previous year 2014.
Israeli Occupation Forces, committed the bulk and the most brutal attacks (407 violations- the equivalent of 68%) whilst, various Palestinian parties committed violation of 192 or 32%.
Since the beginning of May 2015 until today, a killing of a journalist in the Gaza Strip was monitored, whereas IOF killed two media students in the West Bank.
The first four months of 2016 did not carry any positive progress at the level of media freedoms in Palestine, hence, no decline in the pace of violations that are still going in the same upward trend, particularly Israeli violations, as 125 assaults against media freedoms were monitored (Israeli occupation has committed 101 violations, while Palestinian parties both in the West Bank and Gaza Strip committed 24violations).
The above-mentioned figures stark indicate the challenges and dangers facing journalists and media freedoms in Palestine.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” praises the efforts of journalists and media institutions, that never stopped monitoring and covering all events and the facts , despite all risks and challenges, thus MADA reaffirms its intensions to continue and strengthen efforts to protect media freedoms along with various institutions and partners in Palestine and the world.
MADA demanded the international community to put pressure and real action on the Israeli occupation for the immediate release of journalist Omar Nazzal, and all detained journalists, and to stop the administrative detention policy pursued by the Israeli occupation ,moreover to end the various ongoing and escalating attacks against media freedoms that stretched to affect dozens of journalists and activists on social networking sites , additionally, MADA calls all Palestinian parties in (West Bank and Gaza) to cease all violations targeting media freedoms.